Muscat refuses to blame Nabbout
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat won't crucify young striker Andrew Nabbout for missing two crucial chances in draw against Perth Glory on Friday night.
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat won't crucify young striker Andrew Nabbout for missing two crucial chances that would have given his side a vital win against Perth Glory on Friday night.
Nabbout only had Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic to beat in the 79th minute after finding himself on the end of a counterattack, but he sprayed his shot horribly wide of the goal mouth.
The 21-year-old had another chance two minutes later, but his weak strike was easily stopped by Vukovic and Victory had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Glory after taking the lead in the first half through Gui Finkler's penalty.
However, Muscat refused to point the finger at Nabbout for Victory's failure to claim maximum points after a tough fortnight for the A-League club.
'He's a young player learning his trade and he's made a great run to get in so I'm not going to be too critical of him,' Muscat said.
'With those two chances, you would probably say very good chances that we could have gone on and won it.
'At this level if you want to win football games you've got to take those chances, but I thought it was a good bit of football to get him in.'
Victory came into the match on the back of consecutive 5-0 losses to Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC.
Muscat's side was the better of the two in the first half, but allowed Glory to score an equaliser early in the second as their structure fell away.
'I'm not going to shy away the fact it's been difficult (the last two weeks) and it's been difficult for the players as well (but) they really worked hard in that first half to give ourselves a platform to go on and win a football game,' Muscat said.
'I thought in the first half we were relatively good in terms of our structure and our application was right up there so it gave us every opportunity to go on and perform.
'In the second half they got on top of us for a little period early on and we had to weather that storm and credit to the boys for weathering that storm.'
One pleasing aspect for Muscat was the performance of Tom Rogic in his first start for Victory since arriving on loan from Celtic.
Rogic was a standout in the first half and almost scored a cracking goal from outside the penalty box in the 34th minute.
'He's still finding his feet, but you can clearly see he's got immense talent and it's up to us now, as a group, to find some consistency,' Muscat said.
'I have no doubt Tom will get better and like I said, what we're striving for is to find some consistency in our performances because the results are only outcomes to those performances.'
Victory will regain seasoned defender Adrian Leijer from suspension for next Saturday's clash with Central Coast at Bluetongue Stadium.